A fundamental difference exists between images and language, and by understanding the difference, we can understand the second commandment's importance.
Human nature tries to limit God to the confines of physical objects. Men fabricate images, called idols, to aid them in worshiping a god they have concocted.
Nowhere in the Bible are we told to venerate the symbol of the cross. The early church certainly did not. It was introduced into Catholic churches in AD 431.
Will wearing a silver cross around the neck keep a person from harm? Will it stay the hand of Satan? Superstitions about the cross arose long before Christ.
Made in God's image, human beings have the same drive to imagine, create, innovate, and express their designs in the works of their hands.
Most people consider the second commandment to deal with making or falling down before a pagan idol, but it covers all aspects of the way we worship.
Jesus commands His followers to take our cross and follow Him. Does He mean to carry a pagan symbol, or is there a deeper meaning to His weighty words?
Idolatry derives from worshiping the work of our hands or thoughts rather than the true God. Whatever consumes our thoughts and behavior has become our idol.
Many fail to perceive the difference between the first and second commandments. The second commandment defines the way we are to worship the true God.
Bearing our cross means our time on this earth is virtually finished, that we are willing to give up our lives, emulating the life of our Savior.
An idol is anything in our lives that occupies the space which should be occupied by God alone, anything having a controlling force in our lives.
Is it alright to wear a crucifix? As it turns out, the cross was a pagan worship symbol long before Christ's death, and was never used by the first century church.
The woman of Samaria is like each of us, initially hardened, self-willed and skeptical when called, but afterwards zealous when enlightened by the truth.